He had barely finished the notes and was looking at the two drawings, when Fuyuki stirred under the blanket and opened his eyes.
-You’re here-he whispered and sighed.
-I am- said Yoshiasu firmly. Wake up and let’s go out. We still have half of Sunday left.
Fuyuki complied and dressed up. For the moment he was wearing some of Yoshiasu’s clothes but they were planning to go out shopping. A chilling wind was blowing outside so both of them were wearing anoraks, jeans and boots. Fuyuki’s shoulder long hair was tied in a lose pony-tail, a few strands floating freely around his face. Despite his attire, he looked deceptively feminine. His beauty was misleading almost everyone. As they were descending a long row of stairs, walking hand in hand, they heard a group of youngsters whistling after Fuyuki. They both burst into laughter.
On a spur of a moment Yoshiasu turned towards Fuyuki and kissed him. Surprised, Fuyuki blinked and returned the kiss.
-I’m …sorry-mumbled Yoshiasu, slightly enbarassed.
-I don’t want to put any pressure on you…
-You’re not-said Fuyuki. I like when YOU kiss me- he added smiling shyly.
Yoshiasu sighed and held him closer. They strolled among the bony, black shapes of the trees, under the heavily clouded sky. Autumn fell on their steps, rolling golden leaves and raindrops up and down the lane. Younger and older couples were walking slowly on the alleys, enjoying the final hours of the week-end. The evening enveloped the city peacefully.
The two young men turned home refreshed and happy. After the autumn chill, the warmth of the flat was welcome. They both undressed from the heavy outfits and made themselves comfortable. As usual, Yoshiasu cooked the dinner while Fuyuki set the table. They ate all to the last crumb and after washing the dishes they moved to the bedroom and turned on the TV.
Fuyuki leaned against his friend, with head resting on his shoulder. He loved to listen to his velvety baritone, recounting school years with fun. He snuggled in his arms while Yoshiasu was fighting his inner feelings.
Spending most of his time with Fuyuki, Yoshiasu declined most of his friends’ invitations out. Fuyuki was still very shy and recovering, so he didn’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on him. Intrigued by his long absence and the wild gossips about her good friend, Angela Bennett decided to pay him a visit. She came unannounced and on a late afternoon Yoshiasu found himself face to face with her at the door.
-I’ve been told that you became a hermit so I came to check on this wild story myself. I hope I’m not intruding?-she asked with a playful smile.
Yoshiasu chuckled; he was happy to see her. Angela was a long time friend and they shared a lot, beginning with the level-headedness and the considerate manner towards the others. He let her in, took off her coat and invited her in the living.
-I’m going to fix a drink; make you comfortable. What gossips have you heard about me?
Angela looked around with interest. She was well accustomed to this place and she knew her old friend’s taste. She noticed some small changes but there was one particular thing that drew her attention. She saw a new painting on the wall: a colorful butterfly on an intricate background. It wasn’t a reproduction; the picture was genuine. She stood up and took a closer look. She was surprised to find something so poetic and delicate in the house of a computer analyst.
-You like it?-asked Yoshiasu and handed her a frosty glass.
-It’s beautiful! I must admit that I’ve never expected to find something like this hanging on your wall. Is this a recent purchase?
The young man smiled secretively.
-It’s a gift from the artist himself- he said. But let me introduce him to you. Wait a minute…
He left for the bedroom where Fuyuki was reading.
-I have a very good friend of mine visiting us. She would like to know you. Her name is Angela Bennett and you can trust her. Come, let me introduce you.
Fuyuki’s eyes rounded in surprise but took Yoshiasu’s hand and followed him. Hearing footsteps, Angela turned and remained speechless. Half step behind her friend there was a tall and slender young man, clinging almost desperately to Yoshiasu’s hand. The newcomer was a striking beauty, with a fragile look and very shy. His unusual amethyst colored eyes looked at her with the innocence of a child. Yoshiasu gently pushed him towards her.
-Angela, let me introduce you the artist you have asked about: he is my friend, Fuyuki.
-Pleased to meet you-said the young man.
They shook hands and Angela looked at him closely. Fuyuki blushed under her scrutinizing gaze and she found him lovely.
-You’re awfully talented; I like very much your painting. Yoshiasu is very lucky to receive such a beautiful gift from you-she said.
-I am the lucky one to have such a good friend-answered Fuyuki with a small smile.
-Well, since I am blessed with both of you let’s have a drink and let Angela to deliver us the latest gossips about our mutual friends. This way you can make their ”acquaintance” long before they know you.
Just like Yoshiasu, Angela had a healthy sense of humor so in less then half an hour they were all laughing and enjoying her company. Angela took an instant like on Fuyuki. She even warned her old friend while the young artist left the room:
-He is a rare gem, Yoshiasu. Take care of him.
-I know-said Yoshiasu-but thanks anyway. Tell the others that we still need some time to adjust but we’re fine.